CHARLESTON — A coronavirus (COVID-19) “hotspot” has been reported in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice said during his daily briefing this afternoon he just learned of the outbreak late this morning.

“We’ve got an outbreak …” he said. “We have a hot spot we need to take care of.”

Justice said the numbers so far show about 60 positive tests in Berkley and Jefferson counties, but no more specific information has yet been gathered.

It’s not surprising the outbreak is in that area, he added, because of its proximity to a large metropolitan area, Washington, D.C.

“We have anticipated it (possible outbreaks),” he said. “We have been on it and are concerned about it.”

Dr. Cathy Slemp, state Health Officer, said the outbreak at this point seems to be a “community spread” issue scattered around and not in a particular facility or town.

“It’s really a broader community-based spread,” she said.

Justice said measures are on place to help contain the spread more effectively and they include tightening up on who is classified as essential and non-essential personnel, possibly bringing in members of the National Guard and any equipment health care professionals may need, and continue to emphasize strongly to residents to stay home.

“If you get sick and you’ve got a problem, surely self-quarantine,” he said. “If you get sicker, contact a doctor or go to the hospital.”

Justice also said there is no need for anyone to panic or be scared.

Major General James Hoyer, commander of the West Virginia National Guard, said the Guard has a “surge capacity.”

That means help can be on the way quickly to a hotspot, not only bringing in needed supplies but also a “rapid field test” for the virus that can be used for healthcare workers and first-responders who are on the front lines helping people.

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